Columbia Basin Trust has asked Basin residents to tell it what is important, and the results, now publicly available, will help it build its renewed environmental, social and economic strategies.

Earlier this year, over 1,400 residents participated in Columbia Basin trust’s Thoughtstream, a new online tool, which gathered ideas from residents using open-ended questions. According to a news release, over 10,000 thoughts were generated and grouped under main ideas. Participants then assigned stars to those ideas, identifying over 1,800 priorities in total.

Priorities that received the most stars from the most residents were identified as top ideas and grouped into themes to show the major areas of interest across the Basin. Those interests range from land use to affordable housing to local food security and many topics in between.

“We are always looking at ways to improve how we gather input from residents of the Columbia Basin. Online tools such as Thoughtstream are one more way to ensure CBT considers a wide variety of information as we plan for the years to come,” said Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust President and CEO.

Columbia Basin Trust will be inviting public comments on the first draft of its new environmental strategic plan this fall, and is just getting underway with public engagement on the renewal of its social and economic strategic plans.

“As we renew these plans, the more information we can gather about what is important to Basin residents, the better,” added Muth.

“While CBT cannot directly address some of the ideas identified, we can address others and in some cases are already doing so through existing CBT programs,” said Muth.

Information gathered in Thoughtstream will also be available to organizations interested in knowing more about what Basin residents have identified as important.

Columbia Basin Trust has also released a new, 16-page Report to Residents for Fall 2013, highlighting their evolving approach to empower communities to make choices for themselves. If you didn’t get your Report in your mailbox, you can check it out online.

By: Korie Marshall